The Reds’ 2011 Rotation

The Reds have an abundance of major league starters under team control in 2011. Mike Leake, Homer Bailey and Travis Wood are not yet arbitration-eligible and Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. All except Wood, a 2005 second-rounder, ranked among Baseball America's top 100 prospects before they became prominent major leaguers. That's an entire rotation's worth of former top prospects and they're all still cheap.

Of course it takes more than five starters to get through a season. The Rays, who relied on their own quintet for the first four months of the year, are finding that out now that Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann have sore shoulders. Tampa Bay has more pitching depth than most teams, so they can call on Jeremy Hellickson and Andy Sonnanstine. Like the 2010 Rays, next year's Reds should have rotation depth.

They will be able to stretch out Micah Owings or call on one of three minor leaguers. Aroldis Chapman, who is now pitching out of the bullpen, has the potential to be a frontline starter, according to Baseball America. The left-hander has a 3.90 ERA with 11.3 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9 at Triple A this year and has allowed less than one hit per inning pitched, though his command clearly needs work.

A pair of 26-year-old starters are pitching well at Triple A. Right-hander Sam LeCure has a 3.15 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 for Louisville and left-hander Matt Maloney has a 3.36 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9. Those two starters won't make more than the MLB minimum in 2011 and even Owings (headed to arbitration for the first time) and Chapman ($1MM salary) are affordable.

That kind of depth means Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo don't have obvious roles on next year's club. Both veterans have $2MM buyouts for expensive 2011 options, and at this point, it's extremely hard to imagine the Reds picking up both options. The Reds are probably not going to pay $23.75MM to bring Arroyo and Harang back when they have so many affordable and potentially effective arms around. 

It's easy to over-estimate pitching depth; injuries and unexpected performances can change plans. Arroyo, who has pitched well this year, would not re-structure his contract, but the Reds could decline his option and try to bring him back for less. The same goes for Harang, who has some value even though he has been hittable this year. 

Harang's $12.75MM option isn't worth picking up and Arroyo's $11MM option is no bargain, either. It would be a major surprise to see the Reds bring both pitchers back, but they could re-sign one for depth. For now, that's the last thing the Reds are concerned about. Both pitchers will be part of the club's late-season push for its first playoff berth in 15 years.


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52 Comments on "The Reds’ 2011 Rotation"


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mrsjohnmiltonrocks
4 years 10 months ago

I don’t know if I were the Reds I’d let Arroyo go. While not a great pitcher, he’s been a good pitcher, a sturdy pitcher, and sort of the heart and soul of the staff. He has given them innings, lots of them, been a good citizen, popular with fans and takes his craft seriously. You could do worse than have him around as you fill the rotation around him with all of the youngsters and youngish veterans.

He has said he’s not interested in restructuring his contract or signing for a discount; the last time he did that the Red Sox turned around and traded him. Even though he might be worth keeping around, they probably buy Arroyo out.

Harang has always been a poor fit for that park. They would be doing him a favor by letting him go.

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bjsguess
4 years 10 months ago

5 consecutive years of 200+ innings is worth something. As you say, he isn’t a standout pitcher but with so many young guns, having a guy that you can give the ball to every 5th day is important.

All comes down to what Arroyo can get. Going into his age 34 season it’s hard to imagine that he’ll get 3 years guaranteed. Maybe a 2/20 type deal with an option for year 3. That would seem like a reasonable price for the Reds. Worst case scenario is you have too much pitching and you end up having to move a young starter. Yeah – that’s not too bad of a worst case scenario.

Guest
Guest
4 years 10 months ago

“Worst case scenario is you have too much pitching and you end up having to move a young starter. Yeah – that’s not too bad of a worst case scenario.”

You can never have enough pitching.

Guest
4 years 10 months ago

Arroyo is worth bringing back. The Reds look to be competitive again next year and will need a veteran starter. If they do not pick up his option, they need to look elsewhere for playoff ready pitching.

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GeronimoJansen
4 years 10 months ago

Damn I’m really jealous of the Reds’ pitching stuff. Lucky fans…

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Guest
4 years 10 months ago

As a Reds fan, I never thought I would EVER read a comment like that

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Alex
4 years 10 months ago

Definitely agreed with the first two posters. Harang can be let go, but Arroyo should be kept for some stability and veteran presence.

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RedSox2219
4 years 10 months ago

Arroyo also is a innings eater as well. Which bodes well when you may want to cap Leake and Bailey’s innings.